Battle fields are set for the challenge

BATTLE FIELDS SET: COPA Coca Cola u.15 soccer tournament finlas will be played between nine secondary school. COPA Cola Cola Ambassador, Hareaipha "Simba" Marumo, retired South African soccer player, Phindi Phiri and Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko who will attend the finals. Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk

NINE Secondary schools will do battle to determine the 2017 COPA Coca Cola champions.

The 2017 COPA Coca-Cola National Finals will be played at the Mangaung Outdoor sports complex in Bloemfontein between September 28 and 30.

The City of Roses will once again serve as the backdrop for one of the country’s top u.15 soccer tournaments, following great success in hosting last year’s Nationals.

“As Coca-Cola we are glad that we are still able to connect young, aspiring footballers with their passion of the beautiful game through the COPA Coca-Cola tournament, as it has remained their number one destination to celebrate their talent. Each year the standard of football is raised and this year was no different which bodes well for the development of football in the country. We expect another gruelling National Finals contest as the best meet the best and we would like to wish all the nine teams the best of luck,” said Phindi Phiri, Marketing Assets Manager at Coca-Cola South Africa.

“We urge local scouts to come out and witness these young people express their talent during this tournament synonymous globally with developing and unearthing future footballing stars”, she said.

This year the search for the best schools in the provinces started at district level culminating at regionals where after the best school in each province will get to play in the nationals.

The nine u.15 schools sides will battle against each other to determine the 2017 South African champions.

Qalabotjha Secondary School from the Fezile Dabi District will look to capitalise on their home ground advantage after they emerged as the COPA Coca-Cola Free State provincial champions at the end of August. The host school will look to ward off the challenges of other provincial champions in a showdown that will result in the winning school taking home R80 000 along with the celebrated title of COPA Coca-Cola Champions for 2017.

“It is with great pleasure to congratulate all the learners that had an opportunity to experience the COPA Coca-Cola tournament this season right through the regions and the selected clusters with a view of broadening participation. The tournament speaks directly to the aspirations of the golden age in football development which is between the ages of 13 to 15 years, as talented youngsters who aspire to be household names in the near future. SASFA is proud of the strides and impact that this program has achieved since we began this road with our esteemed partners and sponsors, Coca-Cola. We have created an enabling environment for Talent Identification specialists who have found this platform to be a catalyst for the acceleration of development of football in South Africa,” said Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko, the President of SA Schools Football Association.

The COPA Coca-Cola all-star team will play against the Bloemfontein Celtic u.15 academy team in a curtain raiser ahead of the final.

The same All-Star team will also play in the COPA Coca-Cola Global Tournament, featuring 14 countries, to be hosted for the first time on African soil by Coca-Cola South Africa in Durban in early October.

For free daily local news in the south, visit our sister newspapers Alberton RecordComaro ChronicleSouthern Courier and Get it Joburg South Magazine.

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Annette van Schalkwyk

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